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Study questions the power of prayer, but not belief

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In Brian Mann's report yesterday on faith healing in a Saranac Lake Episcopal Church, he noted a recent report in The American Heart Journal that showed that intercessory prayer had no impact on the health of patients undergoing heart surgery. It was a widely awaited study that was supposed to be more scientifically rigorous than previous studies. But one of its co-authors says the implications of the report have been exaggerated. Father Dean Marek is director of chaplain services at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He told Gregory Warner the study dealt specifically with the power of intercessory prayer by strangers. But a sense of faith or religious conviction, he says, has been shown to have a healing power.

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